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Orphan's Thanksgiving offers a family for those far from home

'Family doesn't necessarily mean blood'
Posted at 1:12 AM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 01:12:40-05

FORT THOMAS, Ky. -- David Young couldn't make it back to Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, so he spent Thursday with a temporary one courtesy of a generous Fort Thomas resident.

James Henline hosts what he calls an "Orphan's Thanksgiving" each year — not for literal orphans, but for people like Young who need companionship on what can otherwise be a lonely holiday for those far from home.

"You need human contact once in a while," Henline said. "You have to have camaraderie and people to talk to."

He issues the invitation each year through Reddit, Facebook and Nextdoor, inviting his cadre of "orphans" to enjoy food and games in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Children and even well-behaved pets are also allowed to join in the fun.

Each orphan is also invited to bring a dish to the event, like Young's cheese-and-garlic Brussels sprouts, to make it just like any other Thanksgiving: Fun, collaborative and comforting.

"Family doesn't necessarily mean blood," Henline said. "Family just means people that you're with and care about."